Social workers in hemophilia treatment centers in the US are primarily engaged in case management roles, according to a new study published in the journal Haemophilia. However, this study found that they wanted to take on larger counseling roles.
“Efforts should be made to eliminate barriers to ideal [social work] roles so that [social workers] can provide additional psychosocial services for [hemophilia treatment center] patients,” the researchers wrote.
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Even though social workers provide important services on multidisciplinary teams at hemophilia treatment centers, their roles are not standardized and defined well.
To determine the actual and ideal roles of social workers at hemophilia treatment centers, researchers from the Boston Hemophilia Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts and the Hemophilia and Thrombosis Treatment Center at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan conducted an online survey. The survey was completed to determine the barriers to ideal roles as well.
The researchers sent the survey to 147 social workers working in the 141 hemophilia treatment centers across the US. A little more than half (55%) of the social workers who worked with 3 subpopulations (adult patients, pediatric patients, and family members) responded to the survey.
The study identified 6 major social work roles. These were counseling, case management, financial/insurance, outreach/programs, grants/research, and administrative. The roles were classified as actual and ideal. Actual roles were those actively practiced by social workers while ideal roles were those that social workers felt were most important.
According to study results, the social workers’ most prominent actual role was case management. However, they thought counseling was the ideal role that was most important for all 3 subpopulations.
The barriers to practicing ideal roles were lack of social work input, not enough budgeted time, and inadequate training. For example, a quarter of social workers reported having no supervision and the salaries were stagnant compared to 2010.
Geary MK, Kachalsky E, Parnes A. The actual and ideal roles of haemophilia treatment centre social workers in the United States and the barriers to ideal roles. Haemophilia. Published online September 15, 2021. doi:10.1111/hae.14414